Today is the first day of spring according to the Chinese lunisolar calendar. Fire works and fire crackers can be heard again all around the city, but not just because it’s the first day of spring. Today is also the fifth day of the new year, and today we welcome the god of wealth to ensure a prosperous year.
Zhen and I are back at her mom’s place, where we enjoyed another massive, delicious supper! We had a traditional dish which was like a giant spring roll, with a crepe-like wrapper and vegetable filling which was quite similar to spring roll filling. And they were definitely filling! We ended the night with more DiZhu (Chinese card game) and this time I actually won. A single hand…. Zhen won the big money but we didn’t really finish. We had to leave to catch that last bus home and I’m pretty sure I was warming up to a MASSIVE come back!
Yesterday we had a relaxing morning and watched some interesting Chinese fantasy show about a crazy emperor and his silver fox / witch wife. I can’t understand a thing, but the Kung Fu and magic spells are pretty awesome to watch, even if all the dialogue is Chinese. I’m using a web site called chineasy.org to learn some mandarin basics, so watching these shows, which always have Chinese subtitles really helps.
Once the show was over, we headed to the Xia’an Shopping Mall right next to our hotel and also next to the Olympic site for traditional Beijing style noodles. The place had great food as well as a couple birds and a flourishing coy fish pond.
After lunch we met up with Zhen’s mom in a neighborhood with lots of musical instrument stores. I had planned on buying an erhu, but after trying a few, I realized that playing the erhu, a bowed instrument, was going to require a skill set I did not possess and might take years to perfect. So I looked at some Gu Qing and some Gu Zheng and finally settled on a small Gun Zheng. It’s sort of like an auto harp and is easy to make a fairly pleasant sound with, so I think the kids and I will get the most use from it. I would like to add a Gu Qing to my collection of instruments eventually as well.
Once we had finished shopping for instruments, we headed to a Siachuan restaurant where I was able to try some delicious rabbit head.
Okay. It was pretty tough to get started eating this. But luckily, the restaurant provided instructions. The meal was quite delicious and a little spicy.
Sunday we also had a relaxing morning and by the time we hit the streets we were ready for lunch. We tried to eat at a place Zhen really liked but it was closed for Spring Festival. So… We had hot pot again! We had just had hot pot the day before with Zhen’s cousin in central Beijing, so we were hoping to try something different, but the phase we selected was a different style of hotpot, so it wasn’t overly similar. And of course, the food was delicious.
While we were looking for a place to eat, we noticed a karaoke place in the plaza, so we headed there after lunch and sang songs to each other all afternoon long. You may think singing karaoke in China is an odd thing to do, but it’s quite a thing here. The karaoke lounges are really big, there are tonnes of them and the song selection is vast. Zhen and I sang to each other all afternoon and headed back to the Olympic village to walk around and take in the sights.
Posted from my phone. Please let me know of typos or other errors.